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Brown University Tag

I know a cover-up happened at Brown/RISD Hillel over an anti-Israel "Nakba Day" event held on the premises organized by a small group of leftist Jews and anti-Israel campus allies. How do I know? I was there. Such an event arguably violated Hillel International's Israel Guidelines (aka Standards of Partnership), but it is not an isolated event. And that is the bigger picture, how some local Hillels promote anti-Israel narratives and turn the one place on campus where pro-Israel students can feel comfortable into just another anti-Zionist forum. Here is the story of what happened:
  1. Left-wing Activism and Planning "Nabka Day" at Brown Hillel
  2. What is Zochrot?
  3. What is the Nakba?
  4. The Public Event
  5. The Decoy
  6. Caught Red-Handed
  7. The Aftermath
  8. A Problem from the Top
  9. Conclusion

This is pretty funny, and shows how paranoid the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has become. You've heard about the Zionist shark and various other animal species accused of spying for Israel. Now comes the "Zionist robot" conference attendee. Seriously. "Open Hillel" seeks to undermine pro-Israel Hillel campus groups by opening them up to anti-Zionist, pro-boycott groups, thus destroying the only place on many campuses where pro-Israel students can feel comfortable. Anti-Israel students have plenty of their own places, including the Humanities and Social Sciences faculty and classes. Open Hillel recently was involved in a talk at Brown University with Israeli Arab Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi, who regularly engages in outrageous statements against Israel including backing the Intifada, participating in the Gaza Flotilla, and inciting against Israeli Arab policemen. Open Hillel is complaining that the pro-Israel group Stand With Us supposedly sent a robot to spy and intimidate people:

Let's play, Progressive or Parody. Some students at Brown University devote so much of their time to activism they are getting stressed out, and it's creating mental health problems. (h/t @JeffreyGoldberg) From the Brown University Daily Herald, Schoolwork, advocacy place strain on student activists:
Two weeks ago, the University released the final version of its diversity and inclusion action plan, which could not have been compiled without the exhaustive efforts of students throughout last semester. “There are people breaking down, dropping out of classes and failing classes because of the activism work they are taking on,” said David, an undergraduate whose name has been changed to preserve anonymity. Throughout the year, he has worked to confront issues of racism and diversity on campus.

We have covered the antics of Students for Justice in Palestine, and similar anti-Israel groups, many times, including pervasive efforts to shut down opposing pro-Israel viewpoints. The latest example is at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where SJP is objecting to and planning to protest the joint appearance of actor Michael Douglas and Nathan Sharansky. Douglas and Sharansky are appearing as part of a tour about 'Jewish Journeys,' as the Providence Journal reports, Michael Douglas, Natan Sharansky to discuss 'Jewish Journeys' at Brown:
Movie star Michael Douglas and onetime refusenik Natan Sharansky will discuss "Judaism, Israel and current-day anti-Semitism" at Brown University on Thursday.
The event is the kickoff of a three-university "Jewish Journeys" tour that will also take them to Stanford on Feb. 2 and the University of California Santa Barbara the next day. The 7:30 p.m. event at Brown's Salomon Center for Teaching is free, but registration is required.
Michael Douglas Natan Sharansky Jewish Journeys tour The topic of anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel on campuses is a focus of the tour:

The students who shouted down Ray Kelly at Brown University have received some support on campus, most notably from three faculty members, Linda Quiquivix, Naoko Shibusawa, William Keach. The Brown administration, however, was not at all pleased and is convening a panel to examine whether to commence disciplinary action against the shout-downers for violating campus policy. There also has been widespread condemnation of the shout-down from students, who according to one poll, overwhelmingly were against the shout-down, but not against a protest outside the lecture hall. Brown Daily Herald poll Ray Kelly protest The majority of students at Brown appear able to distinguish that which Profs. Quiquivix, Shibusawa and Keach, and the student protesters themselves are unable to do: It's one thing to protest, it's another thing to shout-down. The shout-downers are in a hole, so they have decided to keep digging, with an "anonymous" column in The Brown Daily Herald, Organizers and supporters of the demonstration against Ray Kelly: Standing for racial justice: A public statement . It is a model of how grievance politics and loopy leftist social power theories pervert campus politics.  There was nothing that prevented the students from presenting their own views; they could have held a counter-lecture, protested outside (which they also did), or done any number of things to get their view across and present counter-arguments.  Instead, they opted to prevent Kelly from speaking, and thereby crossed a line which apparently is invisible to them. Read the whole thing, here's an excerpt:

In October, Brown University protesters prevented New York City Police Chief Ray Kelly from speaking. During Kelly's talk, titled “Proactive Policing in America’s Biggest City,” protesters loudly chanted slogans and read prepared text, drowning out Kelly. A university administrator tried to reason with the protesters, but to no avail. As a result, after a failed half-hour attempt at regaining control of the room, the lecture was cancelled. As covered extensively at Legal Insurrection, the protesters have received support from several professors, two of whom also are active in the anti-Israel movement. Leftist and anti-Israel shout downs are just about the only shout downs on campus these days. But don't think it's just Brown. There is a long history of liberals and anti-Israeli groups shouting down speakers with whom they disagree. Here are five examples other than Brown:

1. Congressman Tancredo at UNC

In 2009, students at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, brought Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo's talk about illegal immigration to a halt by shouting him down. When Tancredo asked ironically, "This is the free speech crowd, right?" a student responded, "not for hate speech!" The students continued to chant, "No dialogue with hate!" as Tancredo struggled to get across a single word.

From Kurt Schlichter, "thanks, suckers": Young Obama Supporters Get Straight Talk from Conservative California Lawyer Tin Soldiers coming: Kent State Says “Aloha” to $17,000 for Hawaiian Sex Week Hey Tin Soldiers, don't lean forward: Gay Sex Pundit’s $24K Lecture on Fisting and Fetishes [Pro tip: The two links above are what...

Hello?! I run this place.  Quote me, me, me! Patrick Maines, President of The Media Institute, writing in USA Today, quotes Legal Insurrection commenter Moonstone716 regarding the Brown shout down of Ray Kelly, Political divide hurts college free speech: As one commenter poignantly observed in reply to coverage...

One part of my communications with Brown Prof. Naoko Shibusawa has stuck in my mind:
"You can quote those two lines. Those only."
Shibusawa is the person featured in my post Tuesday night, Brown U. divestment committee faculty member signed 2009 letter calling Israel Apartheid state.  The post started by referencing her support for the Brown shout-down of Ray Kelly expressed in her Letter to the Editor of the Brown Daily Herald:
"... I want to point out that every movement toward social justice in U.S. history has included “misbehavior.” “Misbehavior” is a tactic of the disempowered toward disrupting the status quo.... So unlike [Biology Prof. Ken Miller who denounced the shout-down], I applaud the student protesters for their moral courage in a righteous cause against racial profiling and brutal police tactics and for their resolution in the face of the harsh criticisms they have since endured. I am proud of you. You inspire me to try to be a better teacher, scholar and person.
Shibusawa initially told me by phone “I don’t know what the purpose is [of my call] and what you want to do” and “I’ve checked out your blog.” She continued, that it “looks like you want to portray me as some sort of extremist” but “I believe in social justice.” Shibusawa then said, “You can describe me as extreme.” Fair enough.  But then the follow up email, telling me what I was allowed to say about the conversation (emphasis added):

Our examination of the shout-down of Ray Kelly at Brown University has moved from the events that day to examining reaction of faculty, including from Political Science Professor Marion Orr who apologized for inviting Kelly, and Biology Professor Ken Miller who issued a forceful denunciation of the shout-down. Something interesting happened along the way, as more faculty went on record supporting the protests, if not the shout down. Post doctoral fellow and instructor Linda Quiquivix, who spoke on a panel discussion in favor of the protests, turned out to be a zealous critic of Israel, to put it very mildly.  In light of Quiquivix's background, I suggested that there may be a connection between supporters of the tactics used against Israel on campuses and those used against Kelly. It turns out that another faculty member who supported the shout-down also has a background in the Israel divestment movement.  More than that, she sits on the University advisory committee on social investing, which has taken up the Israel boycott issue at the behest of Brown's Students for Justice in Palestine. Naoko Shibusawa is a professor of history, specializing in "U.S. cultural history." [caption id="attachment_69998" align="alignnone" width="436"]Naoko Shibusawa Syria Forum 3 (Naoko Shibusawa)[/caption] In the wake of the Kelly shout-down, Shibusawa wrote a Letter to the Editor of The Brown Daily Herald on November 1, fully supporting the events that took place (emphasis added):

I have been following various faculty reactions to the Ray Kelly shout-down, including from Political Science Professor Marion Orr who apologized for inviting Kelly, and Biology Professor Ken Miller who issued a forceful denunciation of the shout-down. So when I saw an article in The Brown...

There was some real angry ugliness at Brown University Tuesday night, as NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was shouted down and his lecture shut down. There has been celebration in some circles at Brown, but not from Biology Professor Ken Miller, a Brown grad himself. Miller wrote a wonderful letter to the Brown Daily Herald about his experience hearing George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of the American Nazi Party, speak at Brown in the late 1960s, and how it compared to the shout down of Kelly. Read the whole thing, this excerpt will not do it justice:
I went to scores of seminars and talks during my four years as an undergraduate at Brown, but the one I will never forget took place on the evening of Nov. 30, 1966.The speaker, a Brown alum, had been invited by the Faunce House Board of Governors to take part in its fall lecture series. But once his name was announced, a storm of objections forced the board to withdraw its invitation. Counterprotests ensued citing academic freedom and arguing that our campus should be open to all views, even — and perhaps especially — to those a majority of its members found repugnant. The speaker was George Lincoln Rockwell ’40, leader of the American Nazi Party. A new campus group called “Open Mind” was formed. Once recognized by the University, it re-invited Rockwell to campus. Rockwell spoke to a packed house in Alumnae Hall.... For the first time in my life, I understood the allure of fascism, the reason that “good people” could have supported the likes of Franco, Mussolini and Hitler. I also understood why the notion that “it couldn’t happen here” is hopelessly naive. It could happen here, and it most certainly would happen if we forgot the lessons of history, lessons that Rockwell brought to life with a sinister smile that evening in Alumnae Hall. I’m glad I was there. I’m glad the talk was allowed to go on. And I’m glad Brown was an open campus where those lessons could be learned in the most personal way possible.

How ironic. Just two days after NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was shouted down at Brown University over NYC's Stop and Frisk policy, with many protesters citing a finding by a trial Judge of racial discrimination, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has stayed the ruling, and kicked the trial judge off the case. (Full Order embedded at bottom of post.) In a short but scathing ruling, the Court of Appeals ruled that Judge Shira A. Scheindlin "ran afoul of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges":
Upon review of the record in these cases, we conclude that the District Judge ran afoul of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, Canon 2 (“A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities.”); see also Canon 3(C)(1) (“A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned . . . .”), and that the appearance of impartiality surrounding this litigation was compromised by the District Judge’s improper application of the Court’s “related case rule,” see Transfer of Related Cases, S.D.N.Y. & E.D.N.Y. Local Rule 13(a),1 and by a series of media interviews and public statements purporting to respond publicly to criticism of the District Court.2 Accordingly, we conclude that, in the interest, and appearance, of fair and impartial administration of justice, UPON REMAND, these cases shall be assigned to a different District Judge, chosen randomly under the established practices of the District Court for the Southern District of New York. This newly-designated District Judge shall implement this Court’s mandate staying all proceedings and otherwise await further action by the Court of Appeals on the merits of the ongoing appeals. In taking these actions, we intimate no view on the substance or merits of the pending appeals, which have yet to be fully briefed and argued.

We previously have reported on the shout down of NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly at Brown University on Tuesday, causing cancellation of his lecture: A public forum was held at Brown last night to discuss the controversy generated by preventing Kelly from speaking.  The forum was reported live by multiple campus student publications. One of the early speakers was Marion Orr, Professor of Political Science, Public Policy and Urban Studies.  Orr also is Director of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions, which invited Kelly. Orr apologized "especially to my black students and Latino brothers and sisters" for the "hurt" he caused by inviting Kelly, and indicated he did not expect such a reaction. Orr also requested a list of people he should not invite in the future. I spoke with Orr, who said that he meant that request for a list as "tongue in cheek" and that everyone in the room understood that he did not really want such a list. Orr said that he was trying to make a point along the lines of "do you really want to have a list?" Orr did not dispute the substance of the quotes attributed to him regarding the list, but disputed what he meant by the request. The Brown Daily Herald reported, Hundreds assemble to confront Kelly controversy (emphasis added):
Marion Orr, director of the Taubman Center, which sponsored Kelly’s lecture, expressed regret for the controversy. “I sincerely apologize to my students,” Orr said. “Especially to my black students and Latino brothers and sisters — it wasn’t my intention to hurt you, and it hurts me to hear that my decision caused so much pain.” Orr asked the students to submit a list of speakers whom they would not approve of coming to campus, adding that he never expected the intense reaction to Kelly’s event.
The Daily Herald also had a live blog, and reported the exchange as follows (author name, time and graphics removed for ease of reading, but available at the link):

Jenny Li is a Brown University student, a fellow at the People for the American Way Foundation, helps run Brown Asian Sisters Empowered, and is an environmental activist who is Executive Director of the Brown emPower environmental group: She's also someone who was proud to shut...

In our two prior posts, we explained how NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was shouted down at Brown University by protesters against NYC's stop and frisk policy: The protesters decided that others should not get to hear what Kelly had to say on the topic.  One protester, Jenny Li (pictured above) revelled in the shut down:
So we drafted a petition last Thursday and as of today [October 29, 2013] there are over 500 signatures. We delivered it to the Taubman Center [at Brown] and they didn't respond to our demand to cancel the lecture, so today we cancelled it for them.
It probably will not surprise you that Li is a fellow at the People for the American Way Foundation, the liberal activist group that runs the Right Wing Watch blog among other activities. Author Mychal Denzel Smith writing at The Nation plays into every stereotype of liberal intolerance in supporting the shout down, and terming it "glorious", Brown University Booed Ray Kelly and Racism (emphasis added):

The Nation Ray Kelly Booed

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly of stop-and-frisk fame was scheduled to speak at Brown University yesterday and deliver the school's annual Noah Krieger '93 Memorial Lecture. The title of his speech, and I'm not making this up, was "Proactive Policing in America's Biggest City." What happened instead was glorious.

Welcome to your modern American college campus. Where the biggest mouths -- almost always left-wing -- shout down and shut down voices they don't like. Today it was NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Prior to his appearance on campus, there was a petition drive demanding cancellation:
1) We demand that the lecture be cancelled. 2) We demand that the honorarium set aside for the lecture be donated to organizations working to end racial profiling and police brutality in Providence and in New York City. 3) We demand transparency in the Taubman Center for Public Policy's decision-making process for inviting speakers to campus.
According to the Brown Daily Herald, protesters against the NYC stop and frisk policy disrupted and caused the talk to end after just 30 minutes. The feature image above was posted to Facebook and shows protesters outside the building where the speech was to be held. Protesters were encouraged by protest organizers to "Bring Drums." Inside the auditorium there was loud shouting until the event was closed.